I have always been a shy person, but when I turned 13 I also became apologetic. I was sorry for being in everybody’s way. I was sorry for being a burden on my family and peers. And I was sorry for being of no physical value in the world I lived in. My only friends were able bodied individuals and my greatest ambition was to be like them. But “keeping up with the Jones” was impossible. It took me twice as long to do anything, not to mention finishing my secondary and university education. In 2009, at the ripe old age of 28, I began my first job and forced to face the reality of who I was.
As a social worker and advocate for the Community Learning & Living Department at Yooralla, I met people with disabilities who amazed me like no-one before. They were happy in their skins. They were passionate about the disability community. They were leading the life they themselves chose to lead. And they showed me that there was no need for me to be sorry. It made me realise I can do what I never thought was possible — travel on my own.
And so I did. To New York City.
It was at the same time that I discovered my ability to write and I began blogging about my journey from apologetic existentialism to unapologetic experietialism. The FD community in New York City were my biggest cheer squad.
Today, I am joyfully working as a writer for the Victorian Advocacy League for Individuals with Disability (VALID). The stories and articles that come out of my new found and proud voice speak about the lived experience of disability and the capability of living a life in full motion. I am still a little bit shy but not at all sorry anymore. My story is your story. So let’s move on together.